A man approaches a bicycle, powers on a handheld electric saw, starts to drill, and is shot in the face with a noxious spray that makes him vomit uncontrollably. This is the dream of the inventors of SkunkLock, The Guardian reports. “Basically we were fed up with thefts,” said Daniel Idzkowski of San Francisco. “The real last straw was we had a friend park his very expensive electric bike outside a Whole Foods, and then went to have lunch and chat. We went out and his bike was gone.” Idzkowski’s friend had used two locks, each $120.
With the right tools, Idzkowski said, a thief could cut through most locks in less than a minute. With another man, Idzkowski created a U-shaped lock of carbon and steel with a hollow chamber to hold one of three pressurized gases of their own concoction, including one called “formula D_1”. When someone cuts about 30 percent of the way into the lock, the gas erupts in the direction of the gash. “It’s pretty much immediately vomit inducing, causes difficulty breathing,” Idzkowski said. “A lot of similar symptoms to pepper spray.” The inventors have not yet tested the device on a would-be thief, but have tested it on themselves and volunteers at various distances. “At two feet it was pretty bad. It was absolutely vomit inducing in 99 percent of people.” At five feet it’s very noticeable and the initial reaction is to move away from it. At 10 feet it’s definitely detectable and very unpleasant.” Bike thieves have had virtually free rein around the San Francisco Bay area, stealing thousands every year.